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Posted at 05:25 PM ET, 03/16/2011

Lawlor gets death penalty in Fairfax

A Fairfax County jury on Wednesday decided that Mark E. Lawlor should be put to death for the 2008 bludgeoning and rape of Genevieve “Gini” Orange inside her Falls Church area apartment.

The jury verdict came in shortly before 5 p.m. after more than 14 hours of deliberations over three da
ys.

Lawlor, 45, did not visibly respond as the sentence was read. He did not testify in his defense, or speak at all, during the two-month trial.

Orange, 29, was a Roanoke native who worked in Washington and was a popular member of McLean Bible Church. Her mother and friends wept as the verdict was read. One juror was crying even before the verdict was announced.

Fairfax Circuit Court Judge Jonathan C. Thacher set sentencing for June 9. Thacher could reduce the sentence to life in prison without parole, but a judge reversing a jury’s death sentence would be extremely unusual.

The jury actually convicted and sentenced Lawlor for two counts of capital murder: one for murder in the commission of a rape or attempted rape, and one for murder in the commission of an abduction. On both charges, the jury found that Lawlor posed such a future danger to society, and that the killings were so vile that he deserved execution.

Since the U.S. reinstated the death penalty in 1976, Virginia has put more than 100 people to death.

[This post has been updated.]

By  |  05:25 PM ET, 03/16/2011

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